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Home > Bayonet Scars #3 - Rev(6)

Bayonet Scars #3 - Rev(6)
Author: J.C. Emery

When we’re done, we each stand and return our supplies, then walk out into the main room, which is filled with family.

Across the room, I catch sight of my kid, who is seated at a small, round table, her elbow atop it while she engages in easy conversation with my mother. Cheyenne is closing in on eighteen years old, and God help her, she looks just like her mother. She’s convinced that when I say I’m going to shoot the first motherfucker I catch making a move on her that I’m kidding. What she doesn’t get at her age is that I was a teenage boy back when I got ahold of her mother.

Cheyenne says something that makes my mother laugh, and the two throw their heads back with short laughter before they calm themselves and let out hefty sighs. It’s then that I see the tears pooling in the corner of Cheyenne’s eyes. My feet carry me across the room, and I find myself lurking over their table before I think about it too much. It doesn’t matter what it is, I hate it when women cry. I’d rather be stabbed than to listen to the sounds of a chick wailing.

“Daddy,” she says and stands instantly. She’s barely over five feet tall and a hundred pounds. Her arms normally feel light as they wrap around my waist when she pulls me into one of her hugs, but right now, every single touch feels so heavy. I lift an arm and wrap it around her shoulders as she rests her head on my torso. One quick sniffle and the tears are gone, but the sadness isn’t. Chief was her godfather—the man who would have fulfilled my role in her life had he outlived me—a role he took seriously. Chief’s tribe is how Cheyenne got her name, a symbol of what I hope she will grow into—strong, fierce, resilient, and proud. I’ve always been proud of my girl, but standing here, holding her as she keeps her chin up high and puts on a stoic face, shows me how incredibly strong she really is.

“This sucks,” she whispers into my cut.

I tighten my grip around her shoulders and whisper back, “Yeah.”

Because it does.

“Where is the memory patch?” my mom asks. Her curiosity is natural, but the question still makes me flinch. I turn slowly and point to it quickly before turning back around.

“Who sewed that on?” she asks, a bit perplexed.

“I did,” I say. She’s seen me work a needle and thread before, though not often. She always offers to help, but that’s not how things are done.

“I could have done it for you,” she says, predictably.

“No,” I say. “He was my brother, and my patches are my responsibility.” I skip telling her that it’s in the club bylaws, and that there’s honor in sewing on a fallen brother’s patch. I don’t tell her it’s symbolic for the members to sew their own patches. She won’t get it anyway, so I save my breath.

Jim rounds up the entire room and gives direction for where we’re supposed to be. “Brothers, on your bikes, Old Ladies on the back of your Old Man’s bike, and extended family in the SUVs.”

Just as everybody starts to move, the front door creaks open and slams shut. All heads turn toward the door. Standing at nearly six feet tall, with broad shoulders and caramel-colored skin, is Elle Phillips, Chief’s eldest daughter. Even in her grief, Elle is fine as fuck and one hell of a woman. Though her normally hard-set features are somewhat soft now, and her dark brown eyes are rimmed with bags, she still carries herself with confidence and determination. I fight the urge to go to her and show her a side of myself that few people will ever see. But I don’t. As it is, my brothers wonder about us, and today is not the day to disrespect her father any further.

Cheyenne relaxes in my arms as she reverently whispers, “She came.”

“And me?” Elle asks in her raspy voice. Jim places his hands on his hips and gives her an honest smile. None of us expected that she’d come today. Not after I made the ride to Sacramento to tell her the news. Upon hearing of her father’s death, she stood emotionless in her front doorway and, without a single word, slammed it in my face. I banged on that door for nearly an hour before the neighbors bitched too much, so I gave up and rode east for as long as I could, until finally I’d run out of gas in some nowhere town and had to push my bike a good two miles to the nearest gas station. I’d have kept riding, but Chief had this theory that when shit went wrong it was for good reason and it gave you an opportunity to evaluate what you’re doing. So I came home, and now here we are.

“SUV with Barbara,” he says. She takes one step farther into the room and shakes her head. Watching this woman refuse to back down from a man most fear to even make eye contact with practically crushes my soul. She’s one tough bitch, that’s for sure. But sometimes I think that, underneath all that strength and bravado, that she’s still a woman who needs to be handled with care every now and then. And right now, Jim needs to show her some care. If he doesn’t, I will.

“No,” she says in a plea. “He was my father, and I have as much right to ride as any of his brothers do.” I shouldn’t be surprised that Elle, who’s been riding since she was seventeen, would demand to ride alongside her father’s brothers. She may be somewhat estranged from the club and her father, but there’s no doubting that she loved him as fiercely as I hope Cheyenne feels for me.

Jim closes the distance between them and wraps her into a tight hug. We’ve never allowed someone from outside of the club—family or not—to ride alongside us at a time of tribute to one of our brothers, but I can’t see anybody saying shit about it.

“I’m glad you came, Little Bird,” he says, using the tribal name she was gifted at birth. Chief couldn’t have known that the child he declared Little Bird would turn into something of an Amazonian-type woman who knows four ways to kill a man without the use of weapons. When they pull away, Jim holds her at arm’s length and looks her over.

“This club has never allowed a non-member to ride with us to bury a brother,” Jim says, telling everybody what we already know. Having known the man for the last twenty years, I know where he’s going with this—he’s giving Elle her wish. He just has to make sure everybody knows that he knows this move goes against tradition. “But there’s a first for everything.”

She doesn’t smile, nor does she say a word. Her face hardens, and she nods her head. It’s a long moment before she pulls away and crosses the room to where her stepmother and younger half-brother and sister, Stephen and Izzy, sit. Izzy jumps up and wraps her small body around Elle’s immediately. Stephen is slower to follow. After the kids have had their moment with her, Barbara uneasily reaches out and gives her step-daughter a hug. It’s an awkward moment between the two, but at least they’re both trying to mend fences.

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